Unsure of who to send to the bump this week? Has your fantasy ace been a fantasy dud of late? Take a look at our Top 10 fantasy starters for this week to make sure that you’ve got all of the latest information. Guys like Halladay, Wainwright, and Jimenez don’t even make the cut this week, so take a peek inside and check out our picks.
1.Max Scherzer, SP DET: 10-9, 3.60 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 142 K
It’s really been a tale of two fantasy seasons for Scherzer who has just been a different pitcher since returning from his demotion to Triple-A. Since being recalled on May 30th, he is 9-5 with a 2.20 ERA in 17 starts—a stark contrast from how his season began. The biggest difference with Scherzer has been his ability to control his off-speed stuff. He’s always had an overpowering fastball, but now that he’s proved capable of controlling his secondary stuff, opposing hitters can no longer just wait for him to gear back and throw #1.
He’s won three straight starts and hasn’t given up more than three ER in any outing since the middle of July. Fantasy owners in re-draft leagues probably gave up on him when he was originally demoted, but those that stuck with him should be rewarded. As long as Scherzer continues to pitch like this, he should be a top-15 fantasy starter heading into the 2011 campaign; maybe we should call him the right-handed Cliff Lee.
2.CJ Wilson, SP TEX: 13-5, 3.02 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 134 K
When Texas decided to move Wilson into the rotation this season, I thought it was going to be a colossal failure that would be over by the All-Star Break. Boy, was I wrong, and I’m glad that I was because he’s been absolutely brilliant for owners all season long.
Undoubtedly a draft day bargain, Wilson has made those who gambled on him look like the smartest owners in the land. While nobody would blame the owner who sold high on Wilson, it certainly looks like his success is for real and he’s here to stay. He hasn’t lost since July 11th, and appears poised to finish the season with great strength. His stuff is nearly unhittable and his biggest foe is his ability to control the ball, not the opposing hitters. He’s a two-start pitcher this week with outings against the Royals & Twins, so it should be a prolific week for CJ and his owners.
3.Roy Oswalt, SP PHI: 9-13, 3.12 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 155 K
The fact that Oswalt has just nine wins this season is all the proof I need to maintain my case that wins are overrated. Perennially one of the best pitchers in the game, Oswalt won just eight games in ’09 after picking up 17 the year prior. Now staring another single digit win season in the face, it seems that the herky-jerky southern boy just can’t get run support regardless of the uniform he’s wearing.
To put things in perspective, he had just six wins before being traded to Philadelphia at the deadline. Owners were ecstatic when Oswalt was dealt to the Phillies thinking he’d finally get more run support, but that hasn’t exactly been the case. He’s pitched excellently since his arrival: 3-1 with a 2.17 ERA, but he has two no-decisions that arguably should have been wins. He’s a reliable member of any fantasy rotation and should really be able to help owners out this week as he takes on the Dodgers.
4.Felix Hernandez, SP SEA: 10-10, 2.47 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 192 K
Perhaps what is most impressive about the King is his incredible ability to whiff opposing hitters. We’re still not out of August and he’s already amassed 192 Ks (current MLB leader) this year which is simply an amazing feat. Over his last four starts, he’s averaging 10 Ks per outing—simply mind-blowing stuff considering that those games have been against Oakland, Cleveland, New York, and Boston.
Despite sitting at just .500 for the season, Hernandez has pitched much better than his record indicates but the Mariners have had an anemic offense all season long. He’s second in the AL in ERA and became the third-youngest pitcher ever to eclipse the 1,000-strikeout barrier in his most recent outing. With two starts this week against the Angels and Indians, owners should be salivating at the stats that he’ll put up.
5.Clay Buchholz, SP BOS: 15-5, 2.21 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 101 K
In a season where the Red Sox really need Buchholz to step up and reach his potential, he’s exceeded all expectations. A 15-game winner with still a month left in the season, Buchholz has been excellent all season and has really limited his opposition. Despite his atrocious K:BB ratio (101:55), the kid’s ability to escape big innings & manage the game have greatly aided in his blossoming this season.
Currently the league leader in ERA for the AL, Buchholz has simply been lights out since July 21st. Since that time he’s gone 5-0 with a 1.47 ERA in seven starts and has established himself as a must-start in any format. He’ll take on a tall task with a potent White Sox offense on Friday.
6.CC Sabathia, SP NYY: 18-5, 3.14 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 160 K
While wins may be an overrated statistic in real life, they’re mighty valuable in fantasy baseball; just ask CC Sabathia owners. Now the MLB-leader in wins with 18, the hefty lefty has a real chance to eclipse the magical 20-win mark playing for the Bronx Bombers.
Let’s take a look at his numbers: 2007-19 wins, 2008-17 wins, 2009-19 wins, so he’s been knocking on the door for quite some time now. It certainly looks like the Yankees and fantasy owners made a wise investment as he’s provided a phenomenal ROI (return on investment) this season. He’s on pace to go 22-6 while striking out over 200 batters and could very well be one of only two members in that club in 2010 (Ubaldo Jimenez could be the other). He’ll take on the A’s this week and should be able to take advantage of the team’s young hitters.
7.Dallas Braden, SP OAK: 9-9, 3.28 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 90 K
If you’re an owner who stuck with Braden through his elbow problems, kudos are in order. After garnering attention for his infamous mound spat with Alex Rodriguez and throwing a no-hitter against Tampa Bay, Braden had been out of the headlines due to recurring soreness in his pitching elbow.
Owners, fear not, as Braden has returned with a vengeance and proved that he’s as healthy as ever. In his five August starts, the lefty went 3-2 with a 2.19 ERA. While he’ll never be a power pitcher (90 K in 151 IP), he manages the game brilliantly and uses his pinpoint control to keep hitters off balance. His next start will be the real test, however, as it comes at New York against the Yankees on Thursday.
8.Ryan Dempster, SP CHC: 12-8, 3.42 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 168 K
With all the negativity that’s surrounding the Cubbies right now, it’s no wonder that Dempster continues to get overlooked. Attention owners: this guy is really good. Arguably the most consistent performer on the team at any position, Dempster has turned in another impressive season but has been especially impressive of late going 4-0 over his last five starts with a 1.31 ERA and 29 Ks.
He’s never going to be the sexiest option on your staff, but he could very well be the most productive. After winning 17 games in 2008, Dempster is on par for his best year since that time. If he continues at his current rate, he’ll get a chance to eclipse 200 strikeouts which would be a new career high. Despite his poor track record against the Pirates over his career, start him with confidence as he is throwing the ball the best I’ve seen from him in quite some time.
9.Wandy Rodriguez, SP HOU: 10-12, 3.87 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 133 K
If you’re a regular reader of this column, you are well aware that Wandy is my man. I’ve been calling his name since the beginning of July, and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. Since the end of June, Rodriguez is 7-2 with a 1.79 ERA and a top ten pitcher for fantasy owners.
He’s been awfully impressive of late and just picked up a very convincing win at Philadelphia last week (7 IP, 1 ER, 6 K). The only thing that limits his upside is the fact that the Astros provide him very little run support, but that’s out nothing that he or his owners can control. With a good showing against the Cardinals this week, he could very well re-appear in next week’s edition in a much higher slot.
10.Daniel Hudson, SP ARI: 5-2, 3.03 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 56 K
It’s been a long time coming for Mr. Hudson but he’s finally getting his chance to showcase his stuff in the desert. Despite Edwin Jackson’s success in Chicago, the D-Backs have to be beyond pleased at what Hudson has been able to accomplish thus far.
Pitching in the NL West is much more beneficial to a young starter’s development than the AL Central, so that may be another reason why Hudson has found immediate success with his new team. Regardless, it’s clear that the light has gone on for the young righty and he’s been pitching out of his mind of late. With a 3:1 K:BB ratio and a looming matchup against the Astros this week, it promises to be another good week to start the rookie.